Thursday, April 11, 2013

Some Truth for Today - And Some Whining

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you an episode of drama.

I don't know why I am writing this here, other than it has to do with art and I feel the need to get it out.  I am disappointed, again.  I told y'all that I hadn't been accepted in this year's Spectrum, that it was disappointing.  And it was really, really disappointing.  Not crushing; it's a waste of time to let something like that crush you when there's paintings on the board to be finished and ideas in the sketchbook to be processed.  But, still.

And I had another one today that I don't quite understand.  I am on the verge of tears (quite annoyed about that) and I don't know how to process all of this.  I mean, disappointment and still plugging on despite it - that's part of life. Even more a part of being an artist.  But that thought really doesn't comfort you in the midst of the disappointment.  I feel like I've made strides - I am certainly a better artist than I was at this time last year.  But obviously I still have a lot to learn.

You know on this side of disappointment, when there's nothing to balance it against, I am in danger of loosing perspective.  That's the real danger.  That's what I have to walk (or run) away from with intention.  Because really, I'm only disappointed that no one recognized what I feel I've gained over the past year.  And while recognition is important, it's not the most important.  Art needs to be made for it's own sake - whether or not someone's there to applaud it in the end.  Because I enjoy making art.  I enjoy telling stories.  And if I let external things start dictating where I find joy in this process then I might as well pack in the bag now.

The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing — to reach the Mountain, to find the place where all the beauty came from — my country, the place where I ought to have been born. Do you think it all meant nothing, all the longing? The longing for home? For indeed it now feels not like going, but like going back.  --C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
There's a story that I really love about the composer Bach.  He had composed this new piece of music, practicing it over and over with his musicians until it was absolutely perfect and had scheduled to play it at a church.  Well, the day came, and Bach and his musicians had shown up to put on this concert when the caretaker had walked up, mortified, and said to Bach:

"I'm sorry, sir, but no one has come to hear you all play."

But Bach (oh, how I love Bach) just waved it off, and said, "we'll still play," turned to his flustered musicians and said, "get ready," and Bach filled that empty church with his music.  

Now I first read that story here (and it's a great article, you really should read it, the story is told much better by Ms. Clarkson), and something written there has really stuck with me and I've been thinking about it a lot, lately. Bach "understood that the music you make carries a beauty that is meant to be given, played into the world regardless of audience or recognition. It wasn’t about him. It was about what God had given him to create. He played it because it had to be played whether anyone heard it or not."

So I guess in the midst of this, that's what I need to hold onto.  

Though it would be nice to be making money with art at some point.  

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